As the pop world’s dominant trends have slowly been folded into the aesthetics of electronic music’s cutting edge, a number of artists have begun playing with its motifs in increasingly interesting ways. Lorenzo Senni is an obvious starting point, stripping trance down to its core instincts on the Superimpositions LP before fully embracing its fantastical build ups on last year’s Persona. Staycore’s Mechatok took snippets of an incredible amount of recent pop and club hits and laid them bare in rapid succession on his A True Story mix while Jesse Osborne-Lanthier twisted familiar EDM reference points into unimaginable shapes on Unalloyed, Unlicensed, All Night! for Raster-Noton. New York’s Dasychira doesn’t manipulate pop forms from such a literal perspective, but his music does have a familiar materiality to it and it’s not impossible to imagine tracks like “Caduceus” and “Amitie”, co-produced with Dviance, being inspired by some funhouse EDM environment.
Of course, the South African artist frames his debut Immolated release, out now on Blueberry Records, in an entirely different light: “There’s this ambiguous plane between spirituality and science in the study of insects I wanted to explore.” The cover art designed by Kyselina, sheds some light into Adrian Martens’ interests, but it was in a recent interview with aqnb where he laid bare his fascination with supernatural perceptions of insects and of the praying mantis’ “sense of spirituality.” The music itself is slippery, high gloss and full of fascinating little tics that recall human emotion, but remain opaque in the scope of the album. “Vipera”, featuring a stunning vocal contribution from Embaci, is the most easily graspable song but even it seems to slide away as the song crescendos.
“These creatures have been on earth longer than humans, yet we see them as almost extraterrestrial creatures. Insects have helped people understand their spirituality and thus their identity throughout history, yet science pulls us away from this connection to view them objectively.” There’s nothing didactic in the way that Martens talks about Immolated or the Bogosi Sekhukhuni-designed website that was built to accompany it, instead offering the listener and participant pure curiosity of image and sound that don’t so much unravel as they glint different depending on what sort of light you shine on them or context you place them in. Martens’ Astral Plane mix follows a similar path, straying away from traditional narratives to offer bits and pieces that might seem familiar at first but will likely look and feel entirely different when viewed from a different perspective. Immolated is available now via Blueberry. Track list after the jump.